4 July, 2017

Our 2017 Festival Programme

Laura Barnett Kathryn Williams
Kathryn Williams & Laura Barnett

Welcome to the fifteenth Sevenoaks Literary Festival, which promises to be a bumper year.

The festival gets off to a sparkling start with an evening’s conversation between Alan Johnson, ex-MP and author of three outstanding memoirs, and ex-Times Political Editor Philip Webster. This year we commemorate two bicentenaries and one centenary: Literary Music will celebrate the music of Jane Austen, who died in 1817, Juliet Barker will offer insights into Branwell Bronte, who was born in the same year, and Professor Stephen Smith will examine the impact of the 1917 Russian Revolution.

We will once again be hosting our Literary Lunch at St Julian’s when our guest – Gloria Hunniford – will discuss her new book My life, whilst crime writer Sinclair McKay will add spice to our delicious Literary Tea. Crime is also on the menu in a conversation between bestselling writer of spy thrillers Mick Herron and Jake Kerridge.

Three popular speakers will be returning to the festival, Professor David Crystal for a typically robust talk about English grammar, Patricia Lovett to fascinate us about the Art and History of Calligraphy, and Hilary Spurling to discuss her new biography of Anthony Powell. Poetry is always a strong feature in the festival, and this year we welcome Emma Harding talking about the radio poem on National Poetry Day; we are also thrilled to welcome Michael Rosen to the free schools event at Sevenoaks Primary School.

We close with a very special evening when Kathryn Williams will be performing songs from Laura Barnett’s new novel, Greatest Hits.

We hope there is something for everyone to enjoy in this year’s festival.

Browse the full 2017 programme here.